11,000 Ivy League Students Wage War Over Internet With “Risk”-like GoCrossCampus

Princeton emerged as the Ivy League victor after allying with Cornell to rout out the Columbia-Yale forces from Long Island. The previous winner, Yale, had conquered extensive territories after invading Massachusetts and defeating Harvard. Historic Ivy League rivalries are now being fought overthe Internet, in an online multiplayer game called GoCrossCampus, or GXC, which has become a new craze on college campuses across the US. In GXC, teams battle for territories on digital maps of rival campuses while defending their own. The winner is declared when it has either conquered the entire game board or possesses the most territories at a predetermined time. 11,000 Ivy League students and alumni have already formed GXC teams to play on behalf of their schools. However, GXC is far from a typical online game, where a few people team up to face others in tactical combat. Rather, the game, compared to Risk, has become something of a campus contest or interscholastic sport. Each day, every player is assigned a number of armies and must coordinate attacks and defensive moves with teammates. A player can only move his or her army once a day. The game is described as a “locally social online sport,” i n which gamers interact with people in their surroundings or with similar interest. GXC facilitates as many interactions in the real world as it does online, since teams gather in person to elect a commander. The commanders are responsible for recruiting, organizing, creating alliances and even convicting spies. A recent article in th eNew York Times said that GXC “may be the next Internet phenomenon to emerge from the computers of college students.” GXC has already spread to 24 universities and high schools, including St. Paul’s School. In February, around 200 students at St. Paul’s formed teams and battled on an online mapping out its dining hall, dormitories, chapel, and hockey rink. GXC has also extended into the political arena, in a “GoCrossPoliticalBash08” battle between the supporters of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, and recent online victor Stephen Colbert and others. Four Yale undergraduates and one Columbia undergraduate founded the game last September. Since then, they have significantly refined the program. The four Yale students met at the student-run Yale Entrepreneurial Society. Chief Executive of GoCrossCampus Brad Hargreaves is a senior at Yale and an economics and biology major. Hargreaves and co-founders Sean Mehra, Jeffrey Reitman, Matthew O. Brimer and Isaac Silverman, will be given an office across the street from the Yale Campus by the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. After graduating this year, three of the five founders will take on full-time jobs developing the program. The company currently has a base in New Haven, but according to theTimes article, the founders say they are considering relocating to Silicon Valley. “If there is any aspect of social networking that has not been as fully exploited up until now, GXC has found it,” said James Boyle, the director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, in the article. Boyle described GXC as one of his organization’s most promising innovations. The company’s initial funding to develop its business venture was provided by two venture capital firms, WGI Fund and Easton Capital. The founders hope to make money by selling sponsorships of games and charging for corporate versions of the game.